Our days are full of learning: lots of discussion, a myriad of questions, a variety of answers, and a never-ending desire to keep learning. Our class is amazing! Great books, challenging Math problems, and some interesting facts about the American Indian regions fill our time together. Thank you for sharing your sweet children with me on this journey!
Math: Whew! If rounding to the nearest 10 or 100 wasn’t enough to keep us busy, adding and subtracting numbers with two- and three-digits has our brains working hard. In 3rd Grade we concentrate on a variety of strategies to show understanding of the adding and subtracting processes: the traditional algorithm is NOT the go-to at this stage of mathematical development. Use your time reviewing the HW to have your child explain the other options (number line, rounding, base ten, and expanded form) for showing HOW they arrived at the answers. You might be surprised to ‘see’ how their brain works as they decipher the information. Word Problems are the newest focus for your young Mathematicians: reading, understanding, representing the details of the situation, solving AND explaining their thinking are all part of the required processes. Standardized Testing assessments include these skills, so we begin practicing now in order for the students to feel comfortable and confident–isn’t that what we ALL want?!
Standardized Testing: Since I brought up the subject…two types of tests are administered in 3G (ability and achievement) to measure the whole child: are they working to their potential, are there areas that can be supported so that growth can occur, etc. My focus is to guide your child through these required exams while remaining relaxed and confident (show what you know!). Attendance, on-time arrival, a healthy breakfast and a great night’s sleep are what I ask of you so that we can create the most positive of atmospheres. All testing takes place first thing in the morning and will last for about an hour for each of the seven days (Sept 6-15, 2017).
Reading: Oh. My. Goodness. My Reading groups are enjoying their new books: funny characters, topics that are relevant to this age group, and some advanced vocabulary that s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-s the brain. Whether they are meeting Freddy, Marvin, Donavan, or Rob(bie) they have been confused, entertained, and intrigued by the main character’s behavior, appearance, and odd situations that seem to take place. The students get ample time to read on their own to meet the needs of their interests and varying levels, but our time together reading and reviewing the group book is one of the favorite parts of the day! Your children are exposed to reading, listening, and speaking within the arena of Reading–books are amazing!
Writing: So, you either have the ‘I really, really do NOT like to write’ or the “Wahoo! It’s writing time!’ type of child. The process so far has included letting the students think about people, places, and events that are important to them–if it’s meaningful, it will be easier to write about. Our process includes writing with pens (or Frindles…ask your child to explain…), skipping lines, and getting input from classmates as well as the teacher. Some of you are the main character of these first writing exercises…my dad, my friend (Janice), and my daughter (Gretchen) have appeared in a few of MY ‘small moment’ tales. BTW: a ‘small moment’ is that little nugget of an event that happened on a regular day, during a vacation, or at any other time of your child’s life. To drive home just how small these moments need to be, I brought in a watermelon (my story about a trip to the beach with friends), cut into quarters (the 4 parts of the trip–the drive, the storm that ruined 2 days of outside time, the dinners and shopping, and the games that we played to occupy ourselves. Within the 4th section of the watermelon, I found a black seed and THAT became the story that I wrote about in great detail (the Dominoes game that lasted for 3 days!). Digging into bigger stories to find the gem is our goal this quarter in Writing.
Whew…it’s time for bed–or at least time for my shower. I’ll add more details in the days to come. I’ve enjoyed the first month of this school year immensely, and I can’t wait to see what the next 8 months hold for us. Each day, time flies because we are having so much fun!